Adequacy, inequality, and cash for grades

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3 Scopus citations


Some political philosophers have recently argued that providing K–12 students with an adequate education suffices for social justice in education provided that the threshold of educational adequacy is properly understood. Others have argued that adequacy is insufficient for social justice. In this article I side with the latter group. I extend this debate to racial inequality in education by considering the controversial practice of paying students cash for grades to close the racial achievement gap. I then argue that framing the demand for racial justice in education solely in terms of educational adequacy leaves us unable to take issue with the cash for grades policy as a matter of principle. While this does not entail that educational adequacy is unimportant, it adds to the general case for why adequacy does not suffice for social justice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-232
Number of pages24
JournalTheory and Research in Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


  • adequacy
  • education
  • incentives
  • inequality
  • justice
  • race


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